Oxfam has argued the important role trees and forests have in fostering food security while recommending conservation as a means to aid in guaranteeing food security
The research titled, “ Transforming food security systems with trees and forests” emphasised the dual role trees and forests had in food security while availing alternatives for the protection of the environment as the world faces the brunt of climate change, global warming and ozone layer depletion.
“The global food system is failing to deliver sufficient and nutritious food to all, while damaging the earth and unsustainably drawing down its resources. We argue that trees and forests are essential to solving these challenges.” The report emphasised.
Trees and forests were argued as multi functional as they not only provide nutrient rich food but contribute to biodiversity conservation while mitigating climate change.
“Trees and forests provide nutrient-rich foods, incomes for food security, ecosystem services for food Production, and add resilience to food systems. At the same time, trees and forests protect biodiversity and mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration.” The report by Oxfam emphasised.
The report noted the recurring problem of valuing trees as a major food security source as embedded in the widely adopted notion of trees as a timber source.
“However , their potential for Contributing to food systems transformation has largely Been overlooked because of the absence of a comprehensive and system-wide approach to food systems, Problems related to measuring and recording multiple Contributions from trees and forests, and a focus on forests As sources of timber rather than food.” The research noted.
The research called for an increase in tree based food production, reorientation of food dense food systems, and integration of nutrients objectives in forest conservation among other measures to fully unlock the value of forests as food security systems.
“We recommend four approaches to realise the full potential of trees and forests to contribute to healthy and sustainable food systems: scaling up current tree-based food production, reorientating Some agricultural investments towards nutrient-dense food production, repurposing production incentives from Support of calorie-rich but nutrient-poor foods to support nutrient-dense foods, and integrate nutrition objectives into forest conservation and restoration programmes.” The research also highlighted.
The research was aimed at outlining “the current contributions of trees and forests to the global food system and present recommendations to leverage these contributions as part of the efforts to reshape food systems to better support healthy diets and environmental sustainability.”
Food security remains a key contemporary issue as the world seeks to meet the sustainable development action of not leaving anyone behind and the initial SDG of eradication of poverty and the broader goal of ending hunger.